Nigeria is a multinational state inhabited by more than 250 ethnic groups speaking over 500 distinct languages who all identify with a wide variety of cultures. The three largest ethnic groups are Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo, which together constitute over 60 percent of the total population of the country.
Nigerian marriage intertwines with religious and spiritual beliefs.
Many view it as a sacred institution ordained by a higher power.
As a result, weddings often occur in places of worship, featuring religious ceremonies and blessings. Nigerian marriage carries profound cultural importance.
It represents heritage, community, and shared values. Ceremonies, traditions, and societal expectations encompassing marriage influence various aspects of life in Nigeria, solidifying its place in the culture.
According to Nigerian law, there are several different kinds of marriage. In Nigeria, a court wedding is the most common type. Essentially, four major types of marriage can be conducted in Nigeria. These include statutory marriage (registry); customary marriage (traditional); church marriage; and Islamic marriage. However, it is common in Nigeria for a single couple to conduct at least three kinds of marriages together.
For customary marriage in Nigeria, the bride price is paid by the groom in return for the family’s consent and blessings for the bride to start a new family but some of these bride prices are very high.
Here are 5 Nigerian tribes with the longest and most expensive marriage list:
Bororo tribe (Adamawa state):
In marrying a Bororo lady, the bride’s household requests the potential groom supply 10–15 cows, in addition to other things. This in itself means millions of naira.
Kalabari tribe (Rivers State):
The Kalabari people are known to also have some of the most outrageous bride prices and marriage lists in Nigeria. The groom is subjected to many payments for a typical wedding ceremony. A Kalabari wedding can reach the sum of N1 million and beyond.
Okrika tribe (Rivers State):
A groom planning to marry an Okrika girl should budget at least N400,000 for the bride’s father and N250,000–N300,000 for the bride’s mother, bringing the total amount spent on the bride’s parents to about N700,000. It’s worth noting that this excludes other family members such as children, single women (bride’s age group), grandfathers and uncles, as well as the mother’s relatives. An Okrika bride’s worth and marriage checklist can be N1.5 million and above.
In Igboland, the traditional marriage list is known as the standard list. The community often prepares for it. This makes it almost impossible for the parents of the bride to adjust the list in favour of their would-be son-in-law. The marriage list differs from one community to the next, but common elements are shared. Sometimes a would-be in-law is expected to contribute to a community project, depending on what it is. In some communities, prices also differ based on certain factors, such as the bride’s level of education, her course of study at a tertiary institution, and a variety of other factors.
Shuwa Arab tribe (Borno and Yobe States):
Marriage ceremonies in this tribe are usually long and elaborate. It could last for a week or more. The groom is obligated to give the family of the bride 12 gold coins and about 15 to 100 cows. The number of cows increases if she’s pretty and even more if she’s educated.